Survival Under Atomic Attack
- Publication date
- Public Domain
- Digitizing sponsor
- U.S. Office of Civil Defense
Explains the dangers of the atomic bomb, the effects of radiation and what the individual should do to protect himself if caught in the open or in his home.
Ken Smith comments: "Let us, without panic, face the reality of our times," says the authoritative, measured, resonant voice of Edward R. Murrow. That's good advice; unfortunately, this blatantly unrealistic film doesn't follow it.
The title is superimposed over a drawing of a mushroom cloud; if you look closely, you can see the tops of skyscrapers peeking out from the cloud base. This isn't a very reassuring visual, but the Office of Civil Defense somehow manages to put a positive spin on things. Murrow reminds us of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as we see footage of smiling, happy Japanese. "The majority of people exposed to radiation recovered quickly," he explains. "Today, they lead normal lives."
The real, insane message of this film -- one espoused by many Civil Defense films of the Truman years -- is that we should stay put when the bombs fall. "An enemy would like nothing better than to have us leave our cities empty and unproductive," Murrow chastises. "Our factories will be battle stations. Production must go on if we are to win." Likewise "our offices and homes will also be posts of duty, not to be deserted." And why should we run when (according to this film) staying put during a nuclear blast is so easy? We're shown one patriotic American lying in a street gutter under a newspaper, another crouched behind a stuffed chair. A flash, some broken glass, some dust is blown through a window, and that's all there is to it.
All of this is intercut with stock footage of real A-bomb blasts, which are HUGE and incredibly scary. This bouncing back and forth between reality and the Government's rosy view isn't especially reassuring, but apparently the OCD felt its audiences wouldn't notice the difference. Murrow has a great deal of advice for the I'm-staying-put homeowner. As an average family demonstrates -- moments before the bomb turns everything into a nuclear inferno -- dad puts a lid on the garbage can, sis closes the drapes, mom unplugs the iron, and everybody hides under dad's workbench with a first aid kit and a bottle of water. "Have a good flashlight on hand, " Murrow adds. "Electric lights may go out."
"If the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki had known what we know about civil defense, thousands of lives would be saved." If the Soviets had known how little we knew about civil defense, they would've nuked us.
Quick-paced, particularly for a government film. Lots of cutting. Terrific overblown musical soundtrack. Plenty of A-bomb footage. This film looks as if it had a bigger budget than most of its Civil Defense brethren.
06:11:25:00 - 06:11:29:00
Aerial view of clouds
06:11:30:00 - 06:11:38:00
CU woman hanging clothes on line, looks up and o.s.; CU man looking up o.s.
06:11:38:00 - 06:11:49:00
Aerial view of clouds; high angle mushroom cloud from atomic bomb explosion
06:11:50:00 - 06:12:20:00
VS buildings destroyed by bomb explosion
06:12:21:00 - 06:12:24:00
LS mushroom cloud (washed out)
06:12:25:00 - 06:12:39:00
VS man standing on bridge in Hiroshima, Japan, pointing out bleached marks on road
06:12:40:00 - 06:12:54:00
VS doctors and nurses working on patients in shelter, Japan
06:12:54:00 - 06:12:58:00
MS Asian men and women walking on sidewalk; 3 with bandages on their faces
06:12:59:00 - 06:12:04:00
MS Asian family sitting at dinner
06:13:05:00 - 06:13:13:00
VS buildings destroyed by bomb explosions
06:13:14:00 - 06:13:23:00
MLS city skyline (water in FG); cars driving along busy city street
06:13:23:00 - 06:13:34:00
VS production in factory
06:13:34:00 - 06:13:38:00
06:13:39:00 - 06:13:55:00
VS man and woman sitting on living room sofa reading book titled "Survival Under Atomic Attack"
06:13:56:00 - 06:14:39:00
MCU man and woman walk down basement stairs, checking sturdiness of ceiling beams; VS couple talking as they look around and under work bench
06:14:40:00 - 06:14:59:00
MS man walks down stairway and through hall, looking around; MS woman walks out of bedroom, inspecting door; woman standing in hallway looking at mirror
06:15:00:00 - 06:15:07:00
MS couple and woman holding baby, standing in apartment lobby, looking at posted sign reading "Notice To All Tenants"
06:15:07:00 - 06:15:15:00
CU early 1950s fallout shelter sign reading "S -- Public Shelter"; CU sign reading "Shelter Zone"; crowd of people entering shelter
06:15:16:00 - 06:15:30:00
MS man walks in storage area, gathering up old newspapers; CU man disposing newspapers into garbage can; high angle MS man putting trash into garbage can
06:15:32:00 - 06:15:37:00
CU woman removing canned goods from kitchen cabinet
06:15:37:00 - 06:15:41:00
High angle CU woman removing flashlight from drawer
06:15:41:00 - 06:15:46:00
VS woman walks in bathroom and removes "First Aid Kit" from cabinet
06:15:46:00 - 06:15:51:00
CU refrigerator door opens and woman places bottle of water on shelf
06:15:51:00 - 06:15:55:00
CU old radio sitting on wood table
06:15:56:00 - 06:16:09:00
MS man and woman storing things under workbench; CU woman looks o.s., smiling; VS little boy walks to her and hands her a can opener; CU man smiling; woman kisses little boy
06:16:09:00 - 06:16:17:00
High angle LS city buildings; pan to CU alarm
06:16:17:00 - 06:17:42:00
Dramatized atomic attack.
MCU little boy in cowboy hat hiding behind rocks, pointing toy gun; MS family sitting in living room (man and woman reading, girl playing with doll); air raid warning siren is heard; all look o.s.; VS of CU each of their faces; they get up and scatter; man walks to window, looking out; MS little boy running toward house; MS man pulls blinds on window and closes curtains; woman walks in kitchen, turning off stove; VS woman walking around kitchen, unplugging outlets and closing window blinds; MS father gives boy rolled up mat; man walks to door; CU man unlocks door; CU woman turns off oil burner; MS young girl runs down stairs with doll and radio, greets father in hallway; VS family walking down basement stairs, they run over and get under work bench; man looks at watch; CU watch at 11:54
06:17:43:00 - 06:18:10:00
CU street clock at 11:56; pan down to MS man walking down street; VS men hitting the pavement after (simulated) atomic flash; VS debris falling around
06:18:12:00 - 06:18:37:00
MS woman setting dining room table; older woman knitting and man reading paper in living room behind her; (simulated) atomic flash seen through window; VS they all hit the floor; MS window glass shatters and blows in; MS mirror crashes to the ground; MS ceiling panels fall onto nicely set table; track back to people on floor amidst destructive aftermath
06:18:38:00 - 06:18:53:00
MLS mushroom cloud after impact
06:18:54:00 - 06:19:01:00
MS man putting up curtain
06:19:01:00 - 06:19:13:00
High angle MLS men walking around collapsed house with radiation meter; CU radiation meter
06:19:13:00 - 06:19:17:00
MCU woman looking at monitor
06:19:17:00 - 06:19:32:00
MCU track in to CU man washing young boy's hair in sink
06:19:33:00 - 06:19:45:00
VS man and woman, sitting on sofa, reading booklet titled "Survival Under Atomic Attack"
Danger Lurks television TV civil defense atom bomb nuclear warfare attack explosion glass (breaking) famil basement emergency preparedness cold war cowboy (costume) boy son father mother daughter house home shelter fallout 1950s fifties radiation radioactivity
- 2002-07-16 00:00:00
- Closed captioning
- United States
- Run time
Subject: I created a music video using this footage
The Aquaerials - "Slay Goliath"
Subject: warppropaganda where would u be without it?
where. go live in iran & see how much freedom of
speech u have--ur penis will be sewn in ur mouth in under a week
sry!!! for that whole penis sewn thingy
Subject: Survival Under Attack
The best part is the end when they say how better prepared the Japanese could have been if they had known what to do.
It is the pestilence of the U.S. Military Industrial Complex that breeds arrogance. What a sickened and illusory country.
Subject: Staring into the center of an A-Bomb blast...
Subject: May Seem Like a Joke, But.....
Subject: Survive An Atomic Attack While Smoking!
Subject: The Remix
this film. Its called The Breakdown ( atomic safety concerns ) under the name antagone on iTunes and amazon mp3.
Subject: about Atomic Attack (1951)
Subject: A bottle of water...
Subject: Lie under a table
Subject: Hoo-ray For The Atomic Bomb!
Subject: Very informative... if it were still 1951.
Subject: I will be ready now!
A fast paced action flick with hope and some advice (would be nice if it could save you...lets face it though - there were A bomb survivors).
Subject: Survival Under Atomic Attack
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***. Also available on Atomic Memories, Atomic Scare Films, Vol. 1, Atomic TV, Atomic War Bride/This Is Not a Test DVD, and U.S. Government Classics.
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